by Jaime Warren
The day before my due date of June 13, 2000, I was like any other pregnant woman nearing the end of her pregnancy, anxious and stretched to the maximum. I had been experiencing painful, yet irregular contractions since my 36th week, but they weren’t helping me to dilate.
It hurt to walk, sit, or stand. I was anxious to get the show on the road.
I had a scheduled doctor’s appointment for that morning, and as I had been doing since my 36th week, I sent up a silent prayer that I had dilated to 4 centimeters, and was ready to be admitted to the hospital. I waddled into my doctor’s office, squeezed in a chair and awaited my turn.
After performing an internal examination, the doctor told me that I was still only fingertip dilated and 50% effaced. Yet another week without any progress. I noticed immediately after she finished the internal exam, that I was beginning to cramp. The cramps weren’t unlike the menstrual cramps I’d experience during PMS. I thought nothing of it, and just chalked it up to having an internal so close to my due date.
I was met at home by a barrage of family, all anxious to hear whether or not they could start heading for the hospital. They were as disappointed as I was when I told them that my little girl still was not ready to make an appearance. I headed for the bathroom so that I could be by myself and have a good cry in solitude. I was so exhausted. Every movement drained me of energy, and each time my precious little girl would move, I would double over in pain. The contractions I was having on and off were unbearable at times, yet doing nothing to help labor progress.
After a good ten minute cry, I noticed that I felt rather damp in “that” area. Upon checking, I found that my underwear were soaked in blood. I had experienced slight bleeding before, but never bleeding with such heaviness. I immediately called the labor and delivery unit at my hospital. This is where the entire thing got a little hairy. The conversation went like this:
Me-“I just had an internal over an hour ago, and I’m experiencing heavy bleeding, should I come up to labor and delivery?” Nurse-“Bleeding is normal after an internal ma’am.” Me-“I’m aware that slight bleeding is normal, but I’m experiencing heavy bleeding and clotting, and I’m having painful cramps.” Nurse-*sigh*”Call your doctor first, she’ll tell you whether or not you need to make the trip up here.”
I was astonished, angry and confused by my conversation with the labor and delivery nurse. I couldn’t call my doctor for another half an hour, because her office closed for lunch. I called my husband and told him what was going on, and he started arranging for someone to relieve him at work. Finally, after half an hour, I called my doctor’s office. She told me to head to labor and delivery.
They immediately hooked me up to the fetal monitors, and saw, that I was indeed having contractions. But, they were still irregular. By this time, I was in a pretty good amount of pain. They admitted me to a room, hooked up the IV and waited for my doctor to arrive. Once my doctor arrived, she checked me for dilation. Again, I was still only fingertip dilated. She took a look at the fetal monitor log and told me that I was not in labor. (Mind you this was after 3 different nurses told me I WAS in labor, and we had called the family) She then went on to tell me that the bleeding I was having could be because the placenta was coming first. I began crying and asked her if they could do an ultra sound to make sure that the baby was alright, and to determine whether or not the placenta was indeed coming first. My doctor refused.
My doctor kept me overnight for “observation.” All of our family had made the trip down, and ended up either having to make another long trip home, or crash in a nearby hotel. My husband was angry, and concerned about me and the baby. The nurses tried to get me to take some pain medications, but I refused. One nurse even went as far as to try and persuade my husband to force me into taking the medications. By this time, we were ready to leave, but terrified that if we did, we’d end up harming either me or the baby.
At 3:00 a.m., I saw that the baby’s heart rate was plummeting and then accelerating within a time span of a few seconds. We immediately called the nurse into our room, and she tried to convince us that it was my heart beat doing that. I demanded that she call the doctor to come and check. After nearly an hour, my doctor’s partner came in to check the monitors. She didn’t speak to us when she came in, checked the strip for a total of five seconds, and then left. My husband searched the halls looking for her or the nurse to tell us what was going on, but he could find neither. An hour later, our nurse peeked her head into our room to ask if we needed anything. I burst into tears, and asked her what was going on. She assured me that it was my heart beat and not the baby’s and that everything was ok.
At 4:00 a.m., the nurse came in and took the fetal monitors off of me to take them to another patient. From that point, I had to do a kick count to make sure that the baby was ok. We demanded to be released.
At 12:00 p.m., we were finally on our way home. I was still in pain, contracting and bleeding. Once home, we tried to find a new doctor that would take me on my due date. We spent most of the day trying to make me more comfortable, and assuring our family that we would find a new doctor and hospital.
At 10:30 p.m., a hospital about 20 minutes away said that they would take us, and that they had a wonderful OB who was on call. My husband, mother, cousin and myself headed there. The doctor on call immediately checked me for dilation, and found that I was still only fingertip and had a very narrow pelvis. (My other doctor never mentioned anything about my pelvis) The monitors revealed that the contractions were still irregular, but painful. They inserted a catheter so that they could fill my bladder with fluid and then took me for an ultra sound.
The ultra sound revealed that the baby was only immersed in a small amount of amniotic fluid, that she was quite large (estimated 8lbs 7oz). They started the Pitocin minutes later. I was informed, shortly after, that I was not going to be able to have an epidural because I had not taken a class that was given at that particular hospital. It looked as though a natural labor was in store for me.
My husband and I were completely unprepared for a natural labor, the pitocin, and everything else that was unraveling around us. I tried to remain calm and focused, but with little sleep, I was having a hard time doing so. My family left for the night, and promised to return bright and early. My wonderful husband massaged my legs and my feet with lotion, talked to me, rubbed my back, and tried to help me through the contractions. The contractions had finally become regular, about 2 minutes apart. By 6:00 a.m., the contractions were one on top of each other and I was having a hard time focusing on my focus “point”. (Which was either the clock or my husband’s shirt). I was panting and moaning, the pitocin was being increased every couple of hours, and my family, bless them all, were trying their best to comfort me. The doctor checked me at 7 a.m., and I still was NOT dilated any further than fingertip.
At 11:00 a.m., the nurses had me walk around and rock in the rocking chair. While the rocking felt better than the bed, I was still in immense pain. The nurses told me, to try and remain calm and focused, because I was still only in the beginning stages of labor. My husband would help talk me through the contractions, then tell me, “ok honey, that one is over…oh, wait, here comes another one.”
At 1:00 p.m., my doctor came in and checked again and told me that I was not dilated any further, and that the baby’s head had actually moved up further. I was ready to throw in the towel, but he was not. He told me to try to keep my focus for a few more hours. They wanted to give me the best opportunity for a vaginal delivery.
At 5:00 p.m., I broke. I started sobbing uncontrollably, and moaning that there was no way I could keep going, I was tired, hungry, and in a LOT of pain. At 5:30 p.m., the doctor came in to check me again. I knew, before he even uttered the words, that there was no further progression. He left the room and my husband followed him. When they returned, the doctor asked me if I was ready for a cesarean section. Without a moment of hesitation, I said yes.
At 6:00 p.m., I was being prepped for surgery and having an epidural administered. (Ah! The RELIEF!) I began shaking uncontrollably, and they wrapped me in warm blankets. The shaking was caused partially by the epidural, and partially by the fact that I was terrified. They rolled me to the OR, my husband right next to me, and surgery began. At 6:33 p.m., my beautiful daughter, Hailey Nychole, weighing 8lbs, 10ozs, with a head full of dark hair, came into the world with a loud cry. Immediately, my husband and I started crying. They cleaned Hailey up, put her id bracelets on her and brought her over to us.
I was overcome with love at the sight of this wrinkly, pink skinned beautiful little girl. She gazed at me and my husband with intent dark blue eyes, and I knew, without a doubt that every ache, pain, and contraction had been worth it. My beautiful daughter had finally arrived, and I was reborn. Reborn as a mommy that is.
Article reprinted with permission.
Visit Jaime’s site at CaesareanBirth.com
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